Florida Judge Kenneth Lester, who had been the judge in the Second Degree Murder case against George Zimmerman, has been thrown off the case by a three-judge panel when he refused to recuse himself for bias:
A Florida appeals court today ordered Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. to disqualify himself in George Zimmerman’s trial for the alleged murder of Trayvon Martin.
The Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona, Fla., voted 2-1 that Lester should be disqualified. Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, had appealed to the court in early July for Lester to be removed.
His motion to disqualify the judge came in response to Lester’s order setting Zimmerman’s bail at $1 million. In it Lester wrote that Zimmerman had “flaunted the system” and practiced “deception upon the court” after it was revealed that Zimmerman and his wife Shellie had not told the court he had two passports and tried to hide the amount of money their defense fund had raised. record. They were also accused of speaking in code in reference to their assets.
In a 17-page document O’Mara accused Lester of having a bias against Zimmerman, writing that “the court made gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman’s character, advocated for Mr. Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes; offers a personal opinion about the evidence for said prosecution; and continues to hold over Mr. Zimmerman’s head the threat of future contempt proceedings.”
Fifth District Court Judges C. Alan Lawson and Jay P. Cohen concurred that O’Mara’s motion was “legally sufficient” in describing his fear that Zimmerman could not get a fair and impartial trial.
It would not take me very much convincing at all to believe that Judge Lester said what he said about Zimmerman in hopes of being removed from the case. Based upon all evidence presented thus far, charges never should have been brought against the citizen, who claimed to have fired a single shot at Trayvon Martin after Martin sucker punched him, mounted him, and continued to pummel him as multiple cries for help went unanswered.
Charges were only brought against Zimmerman after significant threats of racial unrest.
Based upon the training I took to get my concealed carry permit, the situation looks like a textbook example of how an armed citizen can lose and then regain his right to armed self defense as a fluid violent situation unfolds. Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara has indicated interest in a “stand your ground” pre-trial hearing under Florida law, in which he will argue that Zimmerman’s case was so clear cut that “stand your ground” wasn’t applicable, and that Zimmerman should be released on normal and widely understood self-defense grounds.